What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any kind of technology and/or tool that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as communicating with others, going to school or work, or participating in activities can be a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance and have access to a quality of life, that may otherwise not be known, and lead more independent lives.

Thursday

Must have tools for the classroom under $300!

  • Neo Portable Word ProcessorDon’t have enough computers in your class but have students who need to get some work done? Have students who don’t have computers at home but need to write a report? These little devices are awesome. My dream is for every school to have at least one class set. They should be a given at every school.
  • Flip Video Camera You can create do so much with DVD players and the video (Flip) camera. How about videotaping a lab or lesson for students who are absent, and giving them the DVD and player to see? Record a student reading a book and share with younger students. Perform plays for other classes to swap. Book reports in the technology age!! Oh, so much fun!!   A little portable digital camera is a must have and the ideas are endless in how these can be used. Check out ideas for integrating the Flip into your classroom at www.techlearning.com/blogs/32824
  • Speaking Franklin Spell Checks Good for reading support, writing support, speaking support…

  • iPod Nano - I know what you are thinking but just imagine!! You can set them up with their favorite music plus audio books. Download the text CD-ROMs onto them so they can have the chapters read to them. Plus they are infinitely portable and contain a HUGE amount of music and stories. Tap into podcasts, make your own podcasts, have students make podcasts that pertain to a research project… oh, but it is endless. (You could buy 2 Nanos for under $300!) 

  • iTouch - See separate posting on iPhones and the iTouch. In special education- the apps are not only fun but powerful!

  • Fly Pen - if you are working with secondary students, you must check this out!! I can not do it justice in my description. 
  • LiveScribe Pulse Pen - See separate posting for complete description.   
  • Digital audio recorders - Students who are challenged taking notes can record notes in class using these. A good reader could read for a struggling reader. You might consider ones that can record up to 70 hours of audio on 1 AAA battery. Great to use with students who are absent. 

  • USB Flash Drives - These are just essential... especially if you're going to do videos or slide shows or audio files. So many of you are locked out of full use of your computers. Put all your favorite open source software for easy access right on the drive. Good way to work around those tech “live by the rules” guys. How about having an eText USB drive? Save all the eText you can find in one flexible place. Audio formats can be listen to through iTunes... Endless.


Make that itsy bitsy budget count! Buy the tools with the big punch.